October 2, 2003

The B List

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Bad touch: we all know what those words mean. Back in kindergarten, our dutiful teachers taught us how to identify from the types of touches that are okay (hugs, holding hands, you know the drill) and the types of touches that aren’t okay, that are bad and make you feel uncomfortable. This was a valiant effort to prevent our young selves from falling into the hands of perverts and child molesters. So basically, we can all recognize a bad touch. And if you’ve seen Smallville, then you should know the specific bad touch I’m talking about here.

While it seems that being extraordinarily wealthy gives people the right to do what they want, break whatever social norms they see fit, and pretty much give everyone else the finger, it normally doesn’t include incestuous relations between father and son. Enter the Luthor family, Lex and Lionel. They’re brilliant businessmen, either bald or blessed with far too much gloriously wavy hair, and they seem to have a connection that is just too close for my comfort. None of this is to say that there’s actual hanky panky between them in the fictional universe of the WB, but, well, it seems as though they wish the situation was otherwise. But that’s what happens when you have two highly talented actors getting paid a lot of money in a steady gig that requires them to act with models. Since well-paying gigs in Hollywood are a little difficult to come by, I can easily understand why these fellows would start pimping out their talent on this show.

Michael Rosenbaum portrays brooding, bald Lex while Tony-award winner and Broadway veteran John Glover struts around as ruthless Lionel. These guys are way overqualified for the glorified soap opera that is Smallville, so, to keep themselves from falling asleep during filming, they seem to be sexing up their father-son relationship. This is the only reason that I can come up with for this phenomenon, because I’m assuming that the writers on the show don’t have homosexual Oedipus fantasies to work out through the script for Smallville.

I really like this show personally, and I was agonizingly upset when I found out they had moved its show day from Tuesday to Wednesday. Back in the spring, when I was picking my work schedule for this semester, I made sure that I wasn’t working on Tuesdays so I’d always be able to watch Smallville. And now my whole plan is just shot and I have to get someone to tape the shows for me. So don’t be thinking that I’m slamming this program, not in the slightest. In fact, aside from the eye candy that the actors provide, the intensity that Rosenbaum and Glover bring to their roles is exciting to watch and responsible for most of my interest in the show. How is it not fascinating to watch these two flirt with each other? It is beyond creepy in every sense of the word, and I’m just held dreadfully rapt by them, waiting for one of them to really overstep the parent-child boundary. Hmmm, I think that makes me seem a little too creepy. Really, I’m not, it’s just that this is the sort of train wreck you can’t look away from.

Yesterday was the season premiere, but since I have yet to see the show, this is going to be a little funny to talk about. Instead, I’m going to see if I can predict what happens using my skills as a loyal Smallville viewer. It shouldn’t be too hard, it’s not rocket science after all. First, a summary of what happened on last year’s season finale: Clark’s dad, Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) was more than a little pissed after Clark destroyed the spaceship that brought him to this beautiful planet called Earth, especially since this somehow caused Martha Kent (Annette O’Toole) to have a miscarriage. See, this is really bad as Martha was barren until the spaceship healed her womb. Still with me? Good. Chloe, Clark’s friend who had a mondo huge crush on him, found out that he was seeing Lana, and out of spitefulness agreed to dig up dirt on him for Lionel Luthor. Feeling horribly guilty, Clark put on his red kryptonite ring and became bad Clark (sexier, yet meaner) and ran away to Metropolis, leaving dear old Lana in the lurch after she finally hooked up with him. Not to mention all the intrigue in the Luthor family, when Lionel accuses Lex’s new bride Helen (Emmanuelle Vaugier) of killing Lex in a bizarre and unexplained plane crash.

So, my grand ideas of what this season opener is going to be like? Well, I have a few clues from previews on TV and the website, and it looks dark in all the right ways. Clark has been living in Metropolis and is working for as-yet unnamed crime lord Rutger Hauer (yeah, isn’t that just beyond perfect), but his friends and family haven’t forgotten him. Somehow Jor-el (Clark’s biological dad who has been dead since Krypton blew up) gives Jonathan Kent superman-like powers to bring Clark back to Smallville. Since Pete (Clark’s friend) knows Clark’s secret, he’s going to be involved as well, possibly to the dismay of Chloe who feels guilty about what she’s done and still has feelings for Clark. Lana is also going to join the chase. This won’t be when she finds out that he’s an alien, but she’ll come very close. Eventually, Clark will come to his senses and take off his stupid red kryptonite ring and will end up rescuing everyone who came to rescue him. He’ll go home rather ashamed of how he’s acted, but he’ll find loving arms awaiting him. Isn’t that all cuddly and heartwarming? This is the WB, you have to remember. And if you don’t like my predictions, why don’t you let me know how you would’ve had the show turn out? It’ll give me a good laugh. But please, no more with the bad touches.

Archived article by Sue Karp